Ex-Benguet solon pleads not guilty to graft, malversation charges
FORMER Benguet Representative Samuel Dangwa on Wednesday pleaded not guilty to graft malversation and direct bribery charges in connection with the pork barrel scam.
The elderly Dangwa was slapped with malversation, six counts of graft case as well as five counts of direct bribery for allegedly pocketing at least P26.7 million in kickbacks from his Priority Development Assistance Fund allotments.
His son, chief of staff Erwin Dangwa, also pleaded not guilty to the same charges.
Accused mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles likewise pleaded not guilty to malversation and graft charges.
According to the indictment of the Ombudsman against the former lawmaker, his “PDAF was anomalously used for financial assistance, grants, livelihood projects for jewelry-making, aromatic candle making, wellness and massage, farm inputs/implements and other livelihood packages.”
“Dangwa’s PDAF was never used for the intended projects as shown by dubious and fabricated documents,” the Ombudsman said.
Dangwa is among the lawmakers accused of pouring their pork barrel shares to ghost projects for kickbacks under the alleged scheme of Napoles, who is detained for plunder.
Principal whistleblower Benhur Luy accused Dangwa of receiving P26.7 million.
“The whistleblowers testified that they saw Napoles hand over the money meant for Dangwa,” the Ombudsman said.
Dangwa’s co-accused in the scam also
pleaded not guilty to graft: former directors-general of the Technology Resource Center (TRC) Dennis Cunanan; Gondelina Amata, president of the National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC); TRC employees Marivic Jover,, Consuelo Lilian Espiritu, and Ma. Rosalinda Lacsamana; NLDC employees Sofia Cruz, Chita Jalandoni, Gregoria Buenaventura, and Ofelia Ordoñez; National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor) employees Maria Niñez Guanizo, and Romulo Relevo; and other individuals Mylene Encarnacion, Eulogio Rodriguez, Evelyn de Leon, Filipina Rodriguez, Nitz Cabilao, and Belina Concepcion.
Meanwhile, still at large for malversation are Napoles’ employee John Raymund De Asis and Dangwa’s chief of staff Carlos Lozada.
Also at large for graft are former TRC head Antonio Ortiz, former Nabcor head Allan Javellana, Nabcor employees Rhodora Mendoza, Victor Cacal and Maria Julie Villarolvo-Johnson; NLDC employee Emmanuel Sevidal; and private individual John Bernardo.
The court deferred the arraignment for graft and malversation of Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos and his staff Rosario Nuñez, Lalaine Paule, Marilou Bare due to their pending motion for judicial redetermination of probable cause. AC
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.